The Wind Doesn't Need a Passport: Stories from the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

The Wind Doesn't Need a Passport: Stories from the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

The Wind Doesn't Need a Passport: Stories from the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

The Wind Doesn't Need a Passport: Stories from the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

Synopsis

Award-winning journalist Tyche Hendricks has explored the U.S.-Mexico borderlands by car and by foot, on horseback, and in the back of a pickup truck. She has shared meals with border residents, listened to their stories, and visited their homes, churches, hospitals, farms, and jails. In this dazzling portrait of one of the least understood and most debated regions in the country, Hendricks introduces us to the ordinary Americans and Mexicans who live there--cowboys and Indians, factory workers and physicians, naturalists and nuns. A new picture of the borderlands emerges, and we find that this region is not the dividing line so often imagined by Americans, but is a common ground alive with the energy of cultural exchange and international commerce, burdened with too-rapid growth and binational conflict, and underlain with a deep sense of history.

Excerpt

The green-brown water of the Rio Grande swirls and eddies as it flows eastward past the overhanging trees on the shore at Los Ebanos, Texas, site of the last hand-pulled ferry crossing on the U.S.-Mexico border. the steel barge, tethered to a system of cables and pulleys, plies the river from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day. the ferry’s deck can accommodate three cars, a dozen pedestrians, and a few stocky men in feed store caps and dusty blue jeans who grasp a rope spanning the river and pull rhythmically, leaning their bodies into the work. On the thirty-ninth pull, the ferry floats across the midline of the river, leaving the United States and entering Mexico.

Elsewhere along its length, the international line is marked by a steel wall flooded with stadium lights or a few strands of barbed wire tacked to wooden fence posts. At the San Ysidro port of entry, a painted yellow stripe across twenty-four lanes of traffic indicates the place where one country ends and the other begins. At Reynosa, a plaque in the center of a bridge over the Rio Grande marks the dividing line. Here at Los Ebanos, the river’s midpoint exists somewhere on the muddy bottom, but no sign points it out. It must be imagined.

When most Americans think of the border, they think of a line on a map or a fence erected in the desert sand. Politicians talk about “sealing the border” and debate how much hardware and manpower are needed to . . .

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